How to Honor the Anniversary of the Death of a Loved One

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When you notice the anniversary of the death of a loved one approaching, it can be tempting to crawl into bed and stay there until the day has passed. Doing so, you can rationalize, helps you avoid the grief you'll experience recalling the loss. But ignoring your feelings isn't the way to handle this situation. Instead, honor the anniversary of your loved one through an activity that brings the person to life in your heart and mind.

Visit the Grave

Even if you visit the grave of your loved one throughout the year, the anniversary of the death is an ideal time to take some time to reflect on the person you lost. Take a bouquet of fresh flowers, a candle and a photo album and thumb through photos as you sit by the grave. Whether you're visiting alone or with family, don't be afraid to cry, and don't hesitate to laugh.

Plan an Activity

Plan an activity and a meal that you know your deceased loved one would enjoy. If the family member was an avid baseball fan, celebrate his memory by visiting a stadium near you to enjoy a game. Or, simply tune into a game on TV and root for his favorite team. Prepare the person's favorite meal and get lost in memories with other family members as you share and enjoy what he loved.

Give to Others

Giving to others is an ideal way to honor someone's memory. Think of a cause that was close to the loved one's heart, and spend a day in that realm. For example, if he volunteered at the local food bank, lend a hand feeding those who are less fortunate. Other ways to give can include establishing a named scholarship in cooperation with your local high school or planting a tree bearing an inscribed plaque.

Recall Old Memories

The anniversary day is a suitable time to rummage through the closet and dig out mementos that remind you of someone you loved. Browse through personal possessions, such as stamp collections or pieces of clothing, and share stories and memories with those around you. If you have a box of letters or greeting cards from your loved one, read through them. Sharing such moments with others is supportive and reminds you that you're not alone in your grief.